(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Malabe and Colombo Fort Light Rail Transit (LRT) project was launched yesterday in the presence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The construction work will begin in 2020 and is scheduled to be completed in four years.
In March, a concessionary loan agreement for JPY 30,040 million (approx. Rs. 48 Billion) was signed between Sri Lanka and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for engineering services and construction of the LRT project a Light Rail Transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort.
The loan will finance Sri Lanka’s first rail-based, electrified urban mass rapid transit line. It will serve to connect the Colombo’s commercial hub with the administrative capital, and significantly reduce travel time in the most congested transport corridor in the country, and the only major corridor currently not supported by railway.
Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama said that this project will have multiple economic and sociological benefits to Sri Lanka. It will help reduce the travel time to 30 minutes from Malambe to Colombo while it will also reuse carbon emissions due to less traffic flowing in and out of Colombo.
He also said that quality of life of Sri Lankans too would increase as a result. “Our government has offered a concessionary financial package for this project.”
Project Director Eng. Commander (Rretired) Chaminda Amaradasa said that the fare would be Rs. 100 one way. He also said that a separate authority would be formed to manage the project and also they are looking at obtaining funds to maintain green surroundings of stations similar to Delhi metro.
“We will also seek Japanese assistance and local technical skills to train staff to manage the project.” A light rail transit authority act too would be formulated.